It’s taken American Jews a good century to fully absorb the miraculous idea that this country is unlike any other that Jews have experienced. After 2,000 years of feeling insecure no matter where we pitched our tents, the people of Moses finally found safe harbor in the land of Lincoln — the land of freedom, human rights and justice for all.
So where are we in the Iran narrative? I mean no disrespect to the victims of Iran’s terrorist clients, or the existential fears of Israelis and world Jewry, or U.S. security interests in the Middle East by calling it a narrative.
On a wall of the Autry National Center — among Los Angeles Jewish immigrant artifacts, biographies of Hollywood Jewry, above a case of kippot from Uganda — a white banner proclaims in crimson letters: “Beth Chayim Chadashim, Jewish, Gay & Lesbian & Proud.”
There’s a nasty food fight going on right now in the Orthodox world between the stringent groups and the more open ones.
The new Pew Research Center’s new study “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” offers a treasure trove of survey data on American Jewry. It’s a particularly valuable service since the Jewish Federations of North America opted not do a repeat of the decennial National Jewish Population Study to cap “the aughts.”
The Jewish Agency is preparing to end mass aliyah from Ethiopia with two final flights consisting of 400 immigrants on Aug. 28.
How far can you travel in less than an hour? All the way to Capetown, South Africa, and back, if you are talking to Leora Raikin, a third-generation South African Jew who has lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years.
In the last two years, the Western Wall in Jerusalem — also known as the Kotel — has become a place of controversy as much as of worship. It’s the site of a battle that has long been waged by a group called Women of the Wall, who are demanding they be able to pray in the women’s section wearing tallits — Jewish prayer shawls — and also be permitted to read from the Torah, rights that the rabbi of the Kotel, backed by the police, wouldn’t give them.
When Los Angeles was incorporated as a city in 1850, eight Jews, all bachelors, were included on the population rolls. Today, according to the best estimates, somewhere between 600,000 to 650,000 Jews live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with figures varying depending upon who does the estimating, how they define the geographical boundaries and, indeed, the definition of who is a Jew.
Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rose 5 percent over the previous year, making 2012 the third highest number of incidents on record.
Within hours of Israel's assassination of a top Hamas commander, the situation room sprang into action, anticipating retaliatory attacks and preparing instructions to keep civilians out of harm's way.
The umbrella organization of British Jewry criticized the BBC's correspondent in Washington for referring to the "Jewish lobby" in a tweet about the U.S. election.
At a time when Jewish institutions across France resemble military fortresses for their security, entering the great synagogue and main Jewish center of this picturesque city on the Mediterranean coast is as easy as pushing open the front door.
King Abdullah of Jordan will address the Board of Deputies of British Jews at its annual dinner, the Jewish Chronicle reported. The November event’s theme is multiculturalism, interfaith and world peace, the newspaper said.
For reasons I can’t quite understand, many leaders in the pro-Israel community continue to insist that the young generation of American Jews has abandoned Israel.
We are in the midst of one of the most significant downturns of traditional membership-based organizations in this country’s history. Unions, service clubs, membership organizations and umbrella institutions are all reporting a decline in members and affiliates. Of particular importance is the marked decline in ideologically based social and religious movements.
Britain's organized Jewish community slammed the Church of England's General Synod for endorsing an "inflammatory and partisan" pro-Palestinian program.
Tributes and statements of profound respect and admiration are pouring in for Elan Steinberg, former executive director of the World Jewish Congress, who died April 6 of complications from lymphatic cancer. He was 59.
I am devoting this column to responding to letters published in response to my last column, “Our Golden Calf” (March 9), because the topic is so important. If American Jewry’s embrace of leftism has not been a blessing for the Jews, then Jewish life is in trouble. On the other hand, if this embrace has been a blessing, Jewish life should be in great shape. It is hard to imagine, however, that many concerned Jews believe that American Jewish life is in great shape.
American Jewry is in transition, 20 speakers argued during “Looking for Judaism in [Un]Conventional Places,” a symposium at UCLA on Feb. 12-13. Scholars and academics discussed what Jews value, Jewish identity and which organizations are relevant today.
The roomful of artists, musicians and cultural leaders let their imaginations run wild.
It’s hard to think of a more innocuous word for most American Jews than “community.” But in France, things aren’t so simple.
Two relatively new books tell the story of American Jewry, weaving together its past and present by examining tradition and making it relevant to today’s reader. Where Sue Fishkoff’s "Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America’s Food Answers to a Higher Authority" (Schocken, 2010) is robust and detailed, Leah Koenig’s "The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen" (Universe, 2011) is spacious and adaptable.
When disagreement among American Jews on Israel-related issues runs deep, how does an organization that bills itself as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community formulate policies and priorities? By emphasizing civility in public discourse, for starters.
The number of Jewish households in the greater Baltimore has grown substantially in the past dozen years. A new demographic study of the Baltimore Jewish community also shows that Baltimore's Jewish population has jumped by 2,000 people since the last survey, conducted in 1999. Baltimore is home to 93,400 Jews, according to the 2010 Greater Baltimore Jewish Community Study conducted by Ukeles Associates on behalf of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
Local reaction was positive -- with an element of wait and see -- to the choice of Stanford professor Arnold Eisen as the new, de facto leader of the Conservative moment. Eisen, who isn't a rabbi, will take over this summer as chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Any attempt to resolve the crisis in the Middle East forces us -- the American people and American Jewry -- to appraise the motives and the ultimate goals of the leaders involved. Endless disputes have raged over whether Yasser Arafat and the other Arab leaders merely seek a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel or whether they continue to harbor the ultimate goal of exterminating what they once derided as the "Zionist entity." But just as important, perhaps even more so, is reaching an understanding of the true goals of Israel's current Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his close associates. They -- even more than their Arab opponents -- hold the fate of the Israeli people in their hands.
Last week I worried in this space that our college students were ill-equipped to defend American Jewry's pro-Israel position. I asked for a volunteer to explain what's going on. Luckily, Donald Cohen-Cutler, a UC Davis freshman and an international relations major, stepped up to the plate.
I say "luckily" because events on campus are even worse than I had suspected. Of course, I remember the beginnings of the Jewish-Muslim rift on campus during the first intifada. But I don't remember blatant insults to Jewish ritual and history. That's what's happening now (see story, page 10).
Five months ago, Beatrice Ballageure was struggling to make ends meet as a single, 47-year-old Jewish woman living in the capital city of an economically depressed Argentina. She had lost her job several months earlier, but she owned her own apartment and had enough money in the bank to afford basic expenses. She had friends with jobs, and she knew she could rely on her family if real trouble ever came. Then the bottom fell out of Argentina's economy.
For Ilana Besha, 19, the songs conjure up images of the first mass aliyah from famine-stricken Ethiopia to the Promised Land. "When word came to our village that we were going to Israel, it was like a dream come true," said the teenager, who was in Los Angeles last week with Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir. But her long, exhausting journey was fraught with danger. As Besha, at 4, walked with her family across the Sudan, several of her baby cousins wasted away and died. "They are buried in the desert," she said.
Discussing Israel, Zionism and Peace.
More than a century ago, Theodor Herzl was a prominent Europeanjournalist who lived in Vienna and was essentially a Jewish assimilationist. He wasn't much concerned about Jewish life or identity. As an intellectual, he considered himself a citizen of Europe.
Then came the assignment that would change his life, and world Jewry, forever.